The U.S. crowd at the World Cup qualifier at Red Bull Arena Sept. 1. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Even if a good portion of the spectators are rooting against the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Tuesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League encounter against Chivas, they would rather have a big crowd than a small one.
The total crowd for the first two CCL games barely filled up RBA, but the popular Mexican team could bring several thousand supporters for the 8 p.m. confrontation.
“It’s always a little bit weird, but obviously, you want to see a crowd that’s filled than not filled,” midfielder Tyler Adams told reporters at the Red Bull Training Facility Saturday. “You act like they’re cheering for you and you go one with the game. But it’s always nice to be at home, no matter what.”
For the record, the Red Bulls drew 11,667 for their March 1 Round of 16 match against Olimpia (Honduras) and 6,393 for the March 13 quarterfinal game against Tijuana. That was a total of 18,060 for a stadium that has a capacity of around 25,000, give or take a few friends.
“We want all our fans to come out and support us,” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “We know our fans will be there and they’ll be loud.
“But there also will be a Chivas contingent. It makes for a very energetic game, a fun game. To have that kind of atmosphere, it would be great. Certainly, we want to encourage all our fans to get out. Come on out, man. Tuesday night.”
The atmosphere could wind up mirroring what transpired when the U.S. national team dropped a 2-0 decision to Costa Rica in a vital World Cup qualifying match at RBA Sept. 1. It seemed half the crowd rooted for the Ticos in an American home venue.
The Red Bulls enter the match with a 1-0 deficit after last Wednesday’s first leg in Guadalajara.
“We’ve got to win, being that it’s our home ground,” striker Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “It will be a good atmosphere and hopefully that will spur us on and we can get the performance that we need.”